Bali prosecutors demand 3-year sentence for Jerinx in defamation trial

Jerinx during his trial on Nov. 3, 2020, as seen from a livestream. Screengrab: Youtube
Jerinx during his trial on Nov. 3, 2020, as seen from a livestream. Screengrab: Youtube

Prosecutors at the Denpasar District Court today demanded I Gede Ari Astina, who is more popularly known as Jerinx, be sentenced to three years in prison for alleged defamation and hate speech against the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI). 

“[We demand] that defendant I Gede Ari Astina be sentenced to three years in prison,” the team of prosecutors, led by Otong Hendra Rahayu, said. 

Jerinx, the drummer of arguably Indonesia’s biggest pop-punk band Superman Is Dead (SID), has been on trial over a post deemed insulting by the Balinese chapter of IDI. In June, the 43-year-old uploaded a post to his Instagram account @jrxsid where he accused IDI of being “flunkeys” to the World Health Organization (WHO). 

The Balinese musician said tests to detect COVID-19 are inaccurate and questioned why the association and hospitals in Indonesia are making testing a requirement for expecting mothers.

Rapid tests are indeed an inaccurate means of screening for the coronavirus, a matter that health experts in Indonesia have also pointed out repeatedly. However, the test is still required for many administrative requirements in the country, including for travel and women who are giving birth in hospitals. 

Compounding the issue is that Jerinx’s vocal rejection against rapid tests coincided with his active sharing and endorsement of COVID-19-related conspiracy theories on social media, including calls for people to stop wearing masks during the pandemic. 

During his trial, Jerinx said that he called IDI flunkeys in order to get a reaction from the association. 

“I wished to gain a response, because I had asked IDI to discuss previously and they did not respond. So I was forced to use an eccentric diction with the hopes that it will be responded to,” Jerinx previously said.

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